You can provide your fish with color, oxygen and a place to hide by using water plants in your aquarium. Aquarium ground cover plants are especially useful for creating a natural environment for your fish. There are several low-growing plants that can be used in the foreground of your aquarium.
The mudwort (Elatine triandra) is a short, shrub-like little plant that works well as an aquarium foreground ground cover in your freshwater aquarium. Mudwort has a rich, green color and grows quickly to cover the bottom of the aquarium. This plant is native to riverbanks and marshes. Mudwort is a heavy feeder, so plan to provide it with plenty of plant food. You may have to do some searching to find this freshwater plant.
European Water Clover
The European water clover (Marsilea quadrifolia) is a low-growing aquarium plant that looks like the 4-leaf clovers that grow in your lawn. This water plant is a member of the fern family, and grows runners with small, single stems. European water clover will grow in most light conditions, but it will become “leggy” and grow tall and spindly in low light. Provide this aquatic plant with lots of light so it will develop into its distinctive 4-leaf clover shape.
Dwarf Baby Tears
Dwarf baby tears (Hemianthus callitrichoides) have tiny leaves and easily grow into a low-growing, dense aquarium ground cover plant. This freshwater plant needs a nutrient-rich substrate. The small leaves of this water plant can be floated on top of the water, providing a hiding area near the surface of the water for small fish.
The Brazilian micro-sword (Lilaeopsis brasiliensis) grows into a miniature lawn in your freshwater aquarium. In its native habitat, it grows both above and below water. This water plant has fine leaves that grow to two inches tall. Brazilian micro-sword tolerates most aquarium light conditions, but grows dense when given enough light. The Brazilian micro-sword is a popular aquarium plant and is easily obtainable at most hobby fish stores.
Small Spike Rush
The small spike rush (Eleocharis parvula) water plant grows to four inches tall and, like the Brazilian micro-sword, resembles grass. Unlike the other low-growing plants listed here, the small spike rush will develop flowers under the right growing conditions. In larger freshwater aquariums, the small spike rush can be grown as a foreground plant, but it should be planted in the rear of smaller aquariums.
Tropical Fish Hobbyist: Aquatic Plant of the Month
PlantPedia: Eleocharis parvula